**This post will be quite personal and is written from the heart about mental health. If you’re here for fashion, you can find those posts here. Remember, this post is relevant to me and my experiences – if you’re struggling with hopelessness or any mental health issue, there are agencies and people that can help. In the UK, The Samaritans are a fantastic resource and don’t forget, you can seek help from your GP for mental health related crisis. Stay safe, remember you are not alone and hopefully, this post will help you in some small way.***
I’ve been really struggling with my mental health recently. It’s taking a lot of my strength to even just type that statement to you, for reasons you’ll realise as you read this post – but I wanted to be open and honest with you, my lovely little readerchops. In fact, I wrote this post a few weeks ago initially, just for myself but I’ve decided to be brave and to post it because, well, maybe it’ll help someone somewhere.
I’m an extremely positive person – if you ask any of my close friends, I see the best in everything and, if I make a decision, I do so with all my being. A few things as of late have left me feeling a bit hopeless. I’d searched for positives to hold on to, but I had failed. I was now feeling the physical symptoms of dealing with anxiety, something that I hadn’t really dealt with before. I was scared, and I felt alone, despite having lots of people around me. I felt that friends secretly hated me, that people would say one thing and mean another, that I was a hindrance and a joke to my peers.
I have started the process to feel better again, thanks to the help of my girlfriend Emma who recognised that I needed help (thank you, bumface). I want to share with you how I’ve done this because I believe to end the stigma around mental health, we must talk about it. So I’m pausing my usually fashion based blog to bring you this post on the things I did to help myself:
I’d been so used to trucking along, in a keep-calm-and-carry-on-stiff-upper-lip stylee that I hadn’t given myself time to feel what I was feeling. In fact, I thought it would be weak of me to just give in to feeling what I was feeling but, well, it simply isn’t. So, I let myself feel it. I cried, I felt bereft, I got angry, I swore, I searched for answers and I just felt it. I’d previously been ashamed to feel low – I almost felt pressure on me to be the upbeat “strong” person that others thought I was for fear of letting others down. It wasn’t until Emma told me that I spend so much time doing that, I forgot to look after myself. So, I remembered about myself for once and I just felt it. I felt it and I let go and I stopped pretending. And that release felt *so good*.
After my emotional feeling, I took a few days to do absolutely nothing. I breathed in and out, drank water, ate food and slept. I watched a bit of telly too. But I stayed in bed, I listened to what my body wanted and what my mind craved and I repaired. And for the first time, I felt less exhausted. I felt mentally stronger. This period of relaxation has no time limit. You might feel good after an hour or after a week or even months later, but you must do it – the ability to rest is the food for your soul. Listen to what you need to do whether it’s exercising, sleeping, reading, writing… Whatever it is, do it. You owe it to yourself to give yourself a break. It isn’t selfish, you will not let other people down – in fact, quite the opposite – you’ll get back to being you a lot faster so you can be a better person to those around you.
I found in my time for repair that I could have done with some help from my GP. This was something that was quite scary to me at first – going back to the first point, going to my GP to me meant that I was making the problem real and I wasn’t ready to do that yet. In fact, it was the best thing I could have done. I spoke about how I was feeling, I explored options and I was given treatment that helped me. If you’re reading this and you’re worrying about making the decision to talk to your GP about your mental health, take this as a sign that you most definitely should. Don’t struggle if you don’t have to – they really can help you.
A few months ago on a bloggers group on Facebook, someone had asked a question about who everyone’s blogging influences were. We all shared stories of how people we had met had changed lives and inspired us and it was so positive and glorious. Someone resurrected the post because they had been away from the group for a while and I sat and re-read every comment. Tales of women being raised up by other women, of bloggers being inspired by their peers filled my heart again.
And I remembered – what matters most to me is the mark I leave on the world. The ripples of kindness and love that I create to be felt by so many others whether they be tiny raindrops of kindness or huge, tsunami like waves of positivity are worth every moment of my time. But for you, your most important thing might be your children, or your best friend, or the clothes you wear – it doesn’t matter. If it’s important to you, then it is important, no matter how small.
Somewhere in the doom of the past months, I had lost hope. I’d become so concerned by the happenings in the world around me, I’d forgotten about the ability I have (that we all have) to inspire and help others. I remembered that I can influence, I can help, I can do something to give hope to others. I can create my own hopefulness.
Watching and being reminded of these fantastic people who give other people hope, I remembered in the chaos that there is the ability to be calm, to love and to be loved. And isn’t that just it? Remember, we are the masters of our own hope. We are the creators. Even when it feels that hope has been removed from us so violently, we created it before and so we can create it again. Look to those you surround yourself with. Make sure they are fellow creators of hope that inspire you to do the same.
So I’m beginning to feel better. I’m picking up the pieces and I’m beginning to see the good in the world again. It might take a bit longer, but I know I’ll find my happy place again. If you’re also struggling with hopelessness, I know you’ll find it again soon. And whilst your hope is gone, I will hope for you. We’re in this together, you and I!